Our Accomplished NJ Premises Liability Attorneys Litigate Slip & Fall Accidents
Premises liability is the area of the law that holds landlords accountable for hidden hazards on their property that cause harm to visitors. A common scenario is the slip and fall, where an unsuspecting visitor encounters a slick surface and falls to the ground. Injuries from such accidents can cause intense pain, lifelong disability, and even wrongful death. Unfortunately, due to the requirements of the law, the landlord’s fault is often very hard to prove. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a slip and fall, trip and fall, falling merchandise, or another premises liability accident, you can rely on the accomplished personal injury attorneys at Brach Eichler to assert your rights. Our seasoned trial lawyers have recovered more than $160 million dollars in compensation for our injured clients. We are determined to prosecute your case aggressively to deliver the results you deserve.
What you must prove to recover for a slip and fall injury
To recover compensation for a slip and fall or other premises liability claim, an injured plaintiff must prove the necessary legal elements:
- Duty — The plaintiff must be a person towards whom the landlord had a duty of care. In other words, whether the landlord is accountable can depend on who you are relative to the landlord. There are three major categories of premises liability plaintiffs: business invitees, licensees, and trespassers. The landlord’s duty is different for each. If you are a business invitee, such as a customer at a restaurant, the landlord owes you the highest duty of care. He is expected to inspect the premises to discover hidden hazards and either correct them or provide adequate warning to keep you safe. A licensee is someone who enters the property for their own benefit, like a social guest coming over for dinner. A landlord only owes an invitee a duty to warn when he has actual knowledge of a hazard. Finally, as for trespassers, the landlord only owes a duty to warn of artificial conditions that could cause death or serious bodily harm.
- Breach — This means the landlord failed to perform his duty towards the plaintiff. In the case of an invitee, the landlord might have been lax in inspecting the premises and as a result, did not discover a hazard in time to protect the invitee. For a licensee, a breach means neglecting to warn about a known hazard that is not open and obvious to a reasonably attentive person. Towards a trespasser, the breach could be a failure to post signs around a pit the landlord had dug.
- Causation — The plaintiff must prove that the landlord’s failure to perform his duty led directly to an event that injured the plaintiff.
- Damages — The plaintiff is entitled to recover for economic and non-economic losses stemming from the injury event. Economic losses include medical bills (present and future) and lost wages (present and future). Non-economic damages, referred to collectively as “pain and suffering,” include compensation for physical pain, mental suffering, loss of quality of life, loss of enjoyment of life, and other real but intangible losses.
Our task, as your personal injury advocate, is to assemble the evidence necessary to prove each element in this list. We must prove all four for you to recover anything. We must present compelling evidence for you to recover the full and fair compensation you deserve. This is not a task you should entrust to a novice lawyer. Premises liability cases often present difficulties in proving these elements, and it takes an experienced and dedicated attorney to assemble the evidence and present a persuasive case for recovery. Our track record speaks for itself; we are highly capable of delivering results.
Difficulties proving liability for premises liability injuries
There are inherent difficulties to proving liability in a premises liability case. These include:
- Reasonable person standard — Proving breach of duty requires a plaintiff to show that a reasonable person in the landlord’s position would have behaved differently. Such proof depends on a thorough examination of the totality of the circumstances. Your attorney must have the capacity to build a compelling case that considers every detail in the timeline of your accident.
- Destruction of evidence — If the hazard that caused the accident was a wet floor, a loose tile, or even a pothole, a wily landlord can easily eliminate any incriminating evidence before an attorney can return to the scene to verify the hazardous condition. Victims of premises liability accidents can certainly help themselves, if they are able, by taking cell phone photographs of the accident scene.
A landlord also has effective defenses to a premises liability case:
- Comparative negligence — This defense asserts that the plaintiff bears some responsibility for the accident. For example, the hazard was obvious, but the plaintiff simply was not paying attention.
- Assumption of risk — The plaintiff was paying attention and recognized the hazard, but he or she made a conscious decision to proceed at his or her own risk.
- Exculpatory clauses — The law of New Jersey disfavors these agreements, because they encourage a lack of care among landlords. However, a clear agreement can relieve a landlord from responsibility under certain circumstances.
There are many other considerations that complicate premises liability cases, such as the provability of certain chronic pain injuries. But, you can rest assured that when Brach Eichler takes your case, we will employ a comprehensive approach that covers every aspect of the case to maximize your chances of a full recovery.
Contact a preeminent NJ law firm for your premises liability claim
Brach Eichler Personal Injury provides highly professional and ethical representation for slip and fall injuries and other premises liability claims throughout New Jersey. Let us help you obtain the full compensation you deserve. Call us today at 973-364-8300 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.